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UN peacekeeping missions seek digital tech to address modern info challenges

Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the UN is focused on making better use of digital technology. He is pictured at the UN's recent Peacekeeping Ministerial meeting in Accra, Ghana. (UN Peacekeeping)

Technological developments in areas such as data exploitation, digitisation, and artificial intelligence (AI) were a major theme at the recent United Nations (UN) Peacekeeping Ministerial in Accra, Ghana, with the international organisation seeking to adapt to an evolving military landscape.

The ministerial saw national pledges in several technology areas. For example, Australia pledged to develop an ‘innovation hub' to accelerate digital transformation, while Norway pledged funding to support the UN's digital transformation strategy. Nepal offered simulation software for the UN military observer training, while Germany will support a peacekeeping intelligence academy and an extra-budgetary project for driving innovation.

Such areas are a focus of the ‘Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping', which was launched in August 2021. The strategy is built on five system-wide policy frameworks covering digital co-operation, data strategy, information and communications technology (ICT) delivery, and beyond.

According to the strategy, the aim is to “enable missions to implement their mandates effectively and to enhance the safety and security of peacekeepers by harnessing the potential of digital technologies as well as mitigating their risks, while positioning peacekeeping to continue to evolve in its use of technology”.

Speaking to Janes after the Accra ministerial, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix said the UN is increasingly focused on “making better use of digital technology and countering its negative uses”. This has major implications for safety and security, countering misinformation and disinformation, and enhancing intelligence and situational awareness, he said.

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